When Michael Jackson learned he needed life-saving surgery, he learned he would need to leave paradise - his home state of Hawaii - to find the right physician. He traveled more than 4,000 miles to a city in which he had never set foot and knew no one. His journey brought him to a world-class Mercy vascular surgeon.
Jackson had fallen at work and injured his neck, back, shoulder and hip. As he says, that fall turned out to be a blessing. The 67 year old underwent an MRI to check for injuries. The scan revealed an aneurysm in his left common iliac artery. Aneurysms do not provide any warning signs. Without his fall, Jackson likely wouldn’t have discovered the aneurysm until it had burst.
His condition was complicated by the fact it affected more than one branch of his arteries.
“I started doing research about different types of surgery for this condition and about experienced physicians in this field of medicine, and I found Dr. Brian Peterson, in of all places, St. Louis, Missouri,” Jackson said.
Brian Peterson, MD, a Mercy Clinic vascular surgeon at Mercy Hospital South, was the first surgeon in the world to implant an iliac branch stent-graft, which allows surgeons to use a less-invasive endovascular procedure instead of an open surgery. The less-invasive approach speeds up recovery time and helps preserve important blood flow.
Jackson scheduled his surgery and made the trip to Mercy Hospital South. Dr. Peterson performed the surgery on Oct. 23, appropriately the fifth anniversary of the day he became the first in the world to perform the procedure.
“This new option is a vast improvement from what we were doing just five years ago,” Dr. Peterson said. “Before, with the open surgery, Michael would have needed three months or more to recover. Now, his recovery is just a few weeks.”
“I feel amazing, and I’m checking out of the hospital a little more than 24 hours after my procedure, which is just remarkable to me,” Jackson marveled.
After leaving Mercy Hospital South, Jackson headed down to Dallas, Texas, to stay with relatives for a couple of weeks while he recovered.
“Everybody has the same questions,” Jackson said. “‘Why? Why are you here all the way from Hawaii? Couldn’t you get it done there?’ This was the right place to be and the right person to do it. I feel really good about my choice. And the people at Mercy are just incredible. Everybody’s just been amazing. Good experience, good hospital, good people, good staff and an amazing surgeon. How can you go wrong with that?
“It was definitely worth the trip.”